Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Has Iran Suddenly Changed Its Tune on Nukes?

No, probably not. But the developments are compelling.

Print Email

Buried beneath the news of the pope’s resignation, buried like–one might say–the Fordo nuclear complex, is a recent spate of good news about Iran and its nuclear program.

Last week, Iran finally agreed to long-delayed nuclear talks in Kazakhstan with the P5+1 group. Then, yesterday, there was a report that Iran is converting its enriched uranium, which could be stockpiled for weapons, into reactor fuel.

The conversion of the uranium means some depletion of Iran’s stockpile of uranium that is approaching an enrichment suitable for a nuclear weapon.

Accompanying this report was the statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry that a visit to Iran’s troubling nuclear site at Parchin by the nuclear watchdog agency the IAEA could be in the offing.

The agency in particular wants to visit Parchin, a military site southeast of Tehran, where Iran is suspected of testing components needed to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies any such activity.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that “the discussion over visiting Parchin could be part of a deal” with IAEA inspectors.

Finally (and most rhetorically), just hours after Iran’s ally North Korea conducted a controversial nuclear test, which was confirmed early this morning, Iran’s foreign ministry called for all the world’s nuclear weapons to be eradicated.

“We need to come to the point where no country has any nuclear weapons and at the same time all weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms need to be destroyed,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparsat said.

Yet, countries should have the right to “make use of nuclear activities for peaceful purposes,” he added.

Sure, the end there had a little defiant prod, but with these developments in mind, we might be finally witnessing an evolution in Iran’s decision-making about its nuclear program. We might just as easily be witnessing a smokescreen or a ploy to buy more time.

But if there is ever a case for optimism (and optimism doesn’t seem to be breeding complacency here), why not be a little hopeful that the joint efforts by the United States and Israel to make the case against Iran, which has translated into biting international sanctions, may have caused Iran to change its mind.

I’ll update this with bad news tomorrow.

Report: Iran converting enriched uranium to reactor fuel [JTA]
Iran says watchdog visit to Parchin nuke site still possible [Times of Israel]
Hours after Korea Test, Iran Calls for End to Nukes [AP/TOI]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

I’ll give you a jump on the bad news. There is nothing to this; the mullahs have modulated their rhetoric every time there has been trouble on the horizon in the form of an international consensus firming up against them. This will have the effect of cooling any sense of urgency that might be impelling the region’s actors and other interested players into acting in concert. Another deadline will pass, and they will reaccelerate their activities again. The know that only an atomic weapon will allow them to remain comfortably entrenched in the seat of power, just as it allows the North Koreans to continue to flout international sanctions with impunity. If they were sincerely interested in disarming, they would allow teams of international inspectors to remain posted at every suspected munitions site in the country, and milk their innocence for all its worth, using it as a wedge against Israel, and its closet program. The mullahs are Lucy with the football, continually tempting Charlie Brown.

It is unfortunate that Adam Chandler seems quite happy to jump to idiotic conclusions about Iran’s civilan nuclear program. He seems bent on deciding for himself that Iran wants a bomb. No evidence proves that Iran wants a bomb. In fact even the best American intelligence says that they do not believe that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. All the sanctions have done is destroy Iranian lives. There is no evidence that Iran has changed it’s mind because of sanctions …… the likely fact is that Iran didn’t want a nuclear bomb in the first place. There is no evidence whatsoever that shows that Iran wants a bomb. Only old arguements about trigger developement which many scientists have already repeatedly pointed out that these experiments were carried out by many countries around that time in a search for producing high pressure devices to make diamonds.And yet the trigger device keeps surfacing as some sort of smoking gun. The west is simply trying to implode another islamic country and put in place a government that will bend over and do what they are told by the west. I am glad to see Iran stand up and not give in to the west’s demands. They have every right to processing their nuclear fuel for civilian purposes and yet the west has fought that idea for years now. Iran is doing nothing wrong.
No country in the world would give up it’s right to supply it’s own processed fuel for their reactors and for medicines. And yet this is something that Obama and Israel are demanding. (Obama used to say that Iran should be able to process it’s own fuel but then changed that to saying that they couldn;t allow Iran even that.

Mary Beckman says:

The Iranians are playing the same game we’ve seen for decades. The North Koreans are carbon copies. Trust is something earned. They’ve never done anything EVER to gain our trust.

texaninsumatra says:

Just curious, has anyone considered the posibility that Iran may have come to the conclusion that their nuclear weapons program has been a massive, expensive, total and complete FAILURE and are now taking this line of rhetoric because they are too proud to admit it to the rest of the world?

stanlee98 says:

Iran is entitled to use nuclear power just like many other nations.

It’s a rough neighborhood, Israel is a major threat to peace, so if Iran wants nukes for security, it’s none of our business.

Thanks to the Zionist media, people are manipulated into hating Islam and supporting the Israeli apartheid regime.

“Israel has the right to defend itself” the warmonger Netanyahu keeps repeating every time they are onto a mission of murdering civilians. Iran, Palestine and all other nations should have the same rights. Why not? When will the American people recognize the hypocrisy, lies and double standards of the Zionist propaganda machine? When will they become aware of the fact that they are being used, we pay for Israel hostile attitude, we support them in ignoring all UN resolutions, and allow them to continue their genocide. Wake up America, Israel makes you look stupid.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Has Iran Suddenly Changed Its Tune on Nukes?

No, probably not. But the developments are compelling.

More on Tablet:

How To Make Middle Eastern Stuffed Vegetables

By Joan Nathan — Video: Filled with warm rice and unexpected spices, they’re perfect for a cool autumn night—as a side dish or vegetarian entree